26/10/2016 by Martine Lessault
First things first, macarons are not to be confused with macaroons! Macaroons are small coconut haystacks often dipped in chocolate. Now that we are clear on this little confusion, let’s talk about these beautiful treats.
A little history around the macarons… The Macaron cookie was born in Italy, introduced by the chef of Catherine de Medicis in 1533 at the time of her marriage to the Duc d’Orleans who became king of France in 1547 as Henry II. The first Macarons were simple cookies, made of almond powder, sugar and egg whites. Many towns throughout France have their own prized tale surrounding this delicacy.
A French Macaron is delicate and airy, the French Macaron has an almond, sugar and egg white based shell. The shells have a light, crunchy texture on the outside and are slightly chewy on the inside. These shells are held together by a filling. The possibilities for fillings are endless, but the most difficult feat is achieving the right consistency and presentation of the macaron shells.
Macarons are not impossible! The success of a macaron depends almost entirely on the macaronage (the process of folding the dry mixture into the egg whites) as well as the accuracy of the oven’s temperature, not to mention that a kitchen scale is useful for macarons as proper measurement of the ingredients ensures the best results.
The ideal macaron should be a perfect circle, achieved only with a piping bag with a round tip, and have solid, smooth bases. They should have a ruffled “skirt” or “feet” along the edges where it has risen in the oven. They should comfortably slip off your baking mat, begging to be paired with a delicious filling and another shell. They should be very slightly chewy, yet crunchy and they certainly should not crumble easily.
Macarons are great for eating by themselves, or, if you want to be fancy, make a great decoration for entremets.
Last but not least, the macaron even has a special day of the year – March 20th. It was introduced in 2005 by Pierre Hermé,
another famous French confectionary house. ‘Macaron Day’is celebrated throughout the world, and participating macaron shops offer free samples to their customers. Save the date and go eat some delicious sweets!
Happy cooking, Happy kitchen, Happy Life!